About The Project
Following the commitments made by the Kyoto Protocol, EU countries are challenged to reduce their emissions of CO2 by 8% during the period 2008 to 2012. There are several options for CO2 reduction in the power and heat sector. However, CO2 capture and geological storage is the only one that has the potential to achieve substantial CO2 reductions at acceptable cost levels over the next few decades. To address and alleviate potential public concerns about the safety and environmental impact of geological storage, a better understanding of CO2 storage is needed.
The CO2SINK integrated project, supported under the FP/6 framework by the EU commission, aims to develop the basis for this storage technique by injecting CO2 into a saline aquifer near the town of Ketzin, west of Berlin. The project will develop an in situ laboratory for CO2 storage to fill the gap between the numerous conceptual engineering and scientific studies on geological storage and a fully-fledged onshore storage demonstration. The project started in April 2004.
To characterize the underground and understand the processes which happen there, detailed analysis will be made of samples of rocks, fluids and micro-organisms from the underground. The project involves intensive monitoring of the injected CO2 using a broad range of geophysical and geochemical techniques, the development and benchmarking of numerical models, and the definition of risk-assessment strategies. These steps will all help to evaluate the reservoir's stability and integrity.
The Ketzin gas storage site was selected for CO2SINK because:
- The site offers a geological structure favourable for CO2 storage
- The existing surface infrastructure reduces the need for new developments
- The local political community strongly supports the project, and permitting authorities have been involved in project definition.
- The test site is close to a metropolitan area, provides a unique opportunity to develop a European showcase for onshore CO2 storage.
Particular attention will be given to:
- The quality of the geological seals and the possibility of leakage through overlying strata
- Upward migration of gas along artificial pathways (such as the metal casing of injection/observation boreholes)
- Migration of CO2 within reservoirs
- The rate at which CO2 dissolves in brine-filled reservoirs or reacts with indigenous minerals.
- Understanding fate of CO2 and developing a risk assessment for the long-term evolution of the CO2 storage.
The test storage system will be a sandstone reservoir at depths below 600 metres. This will facilitate geophysical monitoring, since part of the CO2 will be in a gaseous state.
To ensure the long-term integrity of the subsurface storage layer, the project team will use enhanced surface geophysical methods and borehole measurement techniques to quantitatively characterise the geometry and physical properties of the reservoir. The team will also examine up-scaling of the parameters and processes measured at laboratory scale so that these can be incorporated into geological field settings. In this way, existing expertise and methods yet to be developed will be implemented in the full-scale field trial facilities in close cooperation with partners from industry.
To characterize subsurface layers and to understand the processes happening within them, the project team will have to:
- Complete detailed analyses of rock samples, fluids (liquids and gases) and microorganisms collected from the selected reservoir layers
- Conduct measurements and experiments in boreholes and geophysical surveys at the surface to probe the reservoir
- Deploy novel monitoring instruments at the surface and downhole
- Develop numerical predictive models to prepare for the injection of CO2 underground, follow its fate over long periods of time and evaluate reservoir stability and integrity.
The work associated with the CO2SINK project is currently organized into a set of 7 sub projects each consisting of one or more work packages as illustrated below. Each work package makes an interlocking contribution to the overall project. The implementation of each work package is shared amongst the various consortium members on the basis of their special expertise. More technical details about the main scientific investigations and operations are described in other web pages: Geology, Modelling, Drilling, coring & logging, Injection, Monitoring, Safety & risk assessment.